When Vista came out, Dell offered a "downgrade option" in which they would install XP Pro instead of Vista Pro. They continued that option into Windows 7. This downgrade is CLEARLY not simply an XP installation instead of Vista/W7 -
It seems as if the MBR is still Vista/W7 because when you hit F8 to enter safe mode you first get a screen asking which OS to load (XP is the only choice), then you get the XP startup menu like normal.
Additionally, when using programs such as Hitman Pro to repair MBR infections, it does NOT find the infection.
I seem to recall early on that I used an XP CD to boot, and either replaced the MBR with it, rendering the machine unable to start at all, or the usual process failed - All I can remember for certain is that I had to re-format the hard drive and install WXP fresh after the failed attempt to replace the MBR.
So is it possible there is a VISTA/W7 MBR that loads another hidden MBR to get XP running? If so, how do I get to the XP MBR to replace it?
I cannot start in safe mode - I get a blue screen when trying. This is only happening on this FBI ransomware computer and is not a problem on other computers with the XP "downgrade".